The Reader‘s archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we’ll dig through and bring up some finds.
Our weed issue came out a day early. We’re sorry about that. It’s really a shame how the calendar aligns itself sometimes. But anyway, it’s 4/20, time to fire up the old bong or stir up a batch of brownies or hit the dispensary or, if you’re still at work or some other weed-unfriendly location with internet, check out some of the writing about marijuana that’s appeared in the Reader over the years.
Or maybe we shouldn’t call it marijuana. The proper term is cannabis, and the word “marijuana” has some nasty racist associations, as Lee V. Gaines explained last year. These are distinct from the “grass gap,” or why African-Americans seem to get incarcerated on weed-related charges more often than whites. (Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky initially explained it in 2011 and also described how erratically the laws were enforced; Gaines wrote six years later that not much had changed.) In 2011, Father Michael Pfleger called on police to stop busting people for pot possession.
Where does weed come from? In 2012, Dumke and Joravsky wrote about a police stakeout of a grow house on the fa south side. In 2016, Gaines and the Reader‘s director of photography Danielle A. Scruggs toured Revolution Enterprises, a cultivation center in Delavan, Illinois, with very secretive owners.
But what about recreational pot? In 2016, Katie Campbell wrote that Illinois probably wasn’t ready to legalize non-medical marijuana, although earlier this year Cook County voters overwhelmingly chose “yes” on a ballot referendum. In 2001, Cara Jepsen reported on attempts to reorganize Hemp Fest, which, its organizers claimed, was a serious political event, not a smoke-in.
For those that prefer to eat their cannabis, Mike Sula did some research and learned that the herb might be used to flavor kuai tiao ruea, or Thai boat noodles, but when he asked cookbook author Leela Punyaratabandhu for confirmation, she told him that if it was used (and that was a big “if”) if would be enough to get you high. Alas.
Now take a minute to admire David Sampson’s witty photos of Chicago icons rendered in reefer.
Finally, here, in its entirety, is a cautionary tale by Miles Raymer about what happened when Method Man got busted for possession:
Back in the spring Method Man got busted with some weed. As part of his plea deal, he will “rap to kids about the dangers of drugs,” according to the NY Daily News. Apparently authorities hope this will undo any effects he’s had on the youth of America by releasing a series of albums named after weed, making a movie about how great weed is, and repeatedly telling anyone who’d listen that smoking weed is fucking rad.
Now go eat some tacos. Or some platillo nopal loco at El Gallo Bravo in Albany Park.